At the end of January Ancestry.com made 134 million General Records Office (GRO) UK birth records for England and Wales dating from 1837 to 2005 available online for the first time, fully searchable by name, registration date and district. This was done as an update to the existing England & Wales Birth Index collection.
Many of you may be familiar with the previous GRO Birth Index that was indexed by surname range only. A search would produce a list of all pages on which the searched name might appear, but referenced by the first and last name on those pages only. Now, every name in the GRO Birth Index is individually searchable.
The newly updated Birth Index is comprised of only two separate collections instead of the three collections that existed previously. The England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837-1915 includes births registered from 1837 to 1915 and was keyed by FreeBMD, a group of independent volunteers dedicated to transcribing civil registration indexes of birth, marriage and death records for England and Wales.
The second, England & Wales, Birth Index, 1916-2005, includes the birth index from 1916 to 1983, which has been transcribed by Ancestry.com, and the GRO published index from 1984 to 2005. Images of the index are only available up to 1983.
We are currently working to also fully index the GRO Marriage and Death indexes. When complete, more than 250 million individual birth, marriage and death (BMD) records will be searchable. As ‘core’ record sets, this major enhancement to Ancestry’s BMD collection will be of great benefit to all UK family history researchers.